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Remembered Today:

2nd Bn Royal Sussex Regiment


chrispy49
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I am research 5 soldiers that were killed 1914-1918 that are commemorated in the church at a small village called Cranford St John, Northamptonshire. 3 of the men are directly related to me.

I have a CWGC download that shows G/19908 Pte F J Bailey 2nd Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment died 13 Oct 1918 age 20. However looking at the Grave Registration included with the download it shows his death as 18 September 1918. This is at Vadencourt British Cemetery.

The Long, Long Trail informs that the Battle of the Hindenburg Line took place between 12 Sep and 12 Oct 1918 and that the phase; The Battle of Epehy (4th Army, 1st Div) took place on the 18 Sep 1918.

I've looked at the war diary for the 2nd Bn Royal Sussex Regiment and it informs me that the Bn, in conjunction with the Australians and 2nd K.R.R. Corps attacked the enemy at Vadencourt on the 18 Sep and were relieved by the Ist Northamptons on the 19th when they moved back into reserve.

If I'm reading the war diary correctly the 2nd Bn Royal Sussex Regiment saw no action from the 1st to 17th Oct. Why would Bailey be reported as killed on the 13th?

I'm inclined to think, as the fighting took place around Vadencourt and the fact he is commemorated there, that the 18 Sep is the most likely of the two dates.

As an ex Naval man of 36 years I struggle with Armies/Divisions/Battalions/Regiments and I may be reading it all wrong. Could I ask you more experienced members to assist me with the events, that the Bn took part in, between 12 Sep and 13 Oct 1918.

Many thanks,

Chris.

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Chris

Soldiers Died in the Great War (SDGW) shows that he Died on 13 October 1918,as opposed to KIA or DOW,so he may have been sick. There was a 'flu pandemic at the time and he is buried with two other soldiers from 2 RSR in the same Cemetery.

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Thank you for your prompt reply. I notice on the Grave Registration Report Form that there are 4 men from the 2 R.S.R. Bailey and Guymer have the date of death as 18 sept 1918 and Clarke and Martin have a date that has been altered in red pen to 13 Oct 1918. That's what sowed the seed of doubt in my mind. I did note however that everyone else, bar one, had the death date as 13 October 1918.

Are you able to confirm the regiment were not in conflict on the 13 October?

Is SDGW available on line?

Many thanks ,

Chris.

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Chris

You have seen the War Diary,so it will show where they were on the 13th.

SDGW is on Ancestry UK. If you don't have access by subscription you can probably look at it in your local Library,or take out a 2 week free trial.

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Chris,

Look on the GRR Forms as draft documents. The Registers are, I suppose, the final documents, but even they can contain errors.

Phil

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Hi Chris

I have sent Martin G a message, I think he has a copy of RSR 2/65 reference from West Sussex Records Office and asked him what is recorded for Bailey.

Description from catalogue

List of non-commissioned officers and men of The Royal Sussex Regiment ('mostly, if not all, 2nd Battalion') killed, wounded, or declared missing during the First World War

This record is held by West Sussex Record Office

See contact details

Title: List of non-commissioned officers and men of The Royal Sussex Regiment ('mostly, if not all, 2nd Battalion') killed, wounded, or declared missing during the First World War

Reference: RSR/MSS/2/65

Description:

Records regimental number, rank, name, date of embarkation, and date killed, wounded, declared missing, captured by the enemy, transferred, returned to England, demobilised, etc. Arranged alphabetically by name

Date: 1914-1919

Held by: West Sussex Record Office, not available at The National Archives

Language: English

Extent: 1 vol

Context of this record

Martin has been making use of this document in this thread.

BEF 1914 - Early Disembarkation and Survivability. It is a long thread now running to 7 pages,

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=220830&page=7#entry2194192

Mandy

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I have photos if most pages of the RSR ledger. If he is missing I will be able to check. When I am next at WSRO. Unfortunately it is closed now for 2 weeks, so please prod me in a few weeks. There are lots of discrepancies between the ledger and the medal rolls, so it would not surprise me if there is an error somewhere in the chain if evidence.

I will revert. MG

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Thank you all for your help and kind offers. The reason I'm trying to get to the bottom of the "Death Date" is because previous documents produced about the 5 men from the village that are commemorated are factually incorrect and in particular the Baileys' I'm related to. I need to put this right!

I'm totally new to WW1 history and as previously stated 'confused' regarding the various structures within the Army.

When I saw two different dates of death on the cards from the CWGC site I though I would check to see where the Bn was on those dates.

On the 18 Sep 1918 (1st death date) The Long, long Trail has them at phase: Battle of Epeny. The diary has them attacking positions North & South of Vadencourt (where Bailey is commemorated) as part of a large attack by the 3rd and 4th Armies. My assumption was that this was where he was killed.

The main reason I asked for advice about where the Battalion was on the 13 Oct 1918 (2nd Death Date) was because the diary said they were relieved on the 28 Sep 1918 and marched back to Verman and became the reserve brigade. The Long, Long Trail has the 1st Division, of which they were a part, fighting at phase: Battle of St Quentin Canal 29 Sep - 3 Oct and then almost continuously until phase: Pursuit to the Selle 9-12 October. This made me think the second 'Death Date' was more likely. However the dairy says that between the 1-16 Oct 1918 they remained in the area training etc. On the 17 Oct they marched to an assembly area just outside Becquigney ready for the next attack.

Would I be correct in assuming that although the 4th Army fought in the various battle phases mentioned in the Long, Long Trail the fact that the Bn was in reserve meant they weren't actually involved in the fighting?

Regards,

Chris.

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Chris

I have tried to find a medal index card without success (Ancestry and NMP). Do you by any chance have a date of disembarkation? My focus to date is the men who disembarked up to mid 1915, so I don't have the pages for men who disembarked afterwards. Given I can't find a MIC and he is not on other Star medal roll suggests he went overseas after Dec 1915. I am sure he will be on the ledger, but if you can provide any likely dates it will help. MG

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Martin,

MiC for Francis J Bailey: Ancestry

British War and Victory Medals only. His only overseas service was with 2nd Battalion. I don't know what date exactly, but will be post 1915 certainly.

Phil

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Hi All

From my workings out in the past, G19908 was a late 1916 issued number, G175** joining in late August 1916. I have had a look on the British Newspaper Archives and no mention of Pte Bailey I'm afraid. Hopefully Martin will be able to get you some more info from WSRO, but until that further evidence I'm with Sotonmate (post #2), probably died in accident/through injury/illness.

As for your query in post 8, Chris,:

"Would I be correct in assuming that although the 4th Army fought in the various battle phases mentioned in the Long, Long Trail the fact that the Bn was in reserve meant they weren't actually involved in the fighting?"

Yes you would be, sometimes the Division (1st) was involved in an offensive/attack, but sometimes the Brigade (2nd) or the Battalion were not involved. Best to go by the War Diary for locations/events

All the best

Jim

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Martin,

MiC for Francis J Bailey: Ancestry

British War and Victory Medals only. His only overseas service was with 2nd Battalion. I don't know what date exactly, but will be post 1915 certainly.

Phil

Thanks. For the life of me I could not find it. As you say, clearly a post 1915 disembarkation. MG

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Chris,

I was beginning to doubt the date of 13th myself until I thought I would look at the month's casualties on SDGW.

All five of the men are given as "Died", implying accident or illness etc. Unfortunately there are no figures in the Battalion diary for men sick, or to hospital. Neither are any training accidents recorded. Were they possibly flu victims?

Phil

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Chris,

I was beginning to doubt the date of 13th myself until I thought I would look at the month's casualties on SDGW.

All five of the men are given as "Died", implying accident or illness etc. Unfortunately there are no figures in the Battalion diary for men sick, or to hospital. Neither are any training accidents recorded. Were they possibly flu victims?

Phil

Phil, I think Died can be interpreted in many ways. I am in the middle of transcribing a medal roll and cross checking against a regimental central ledger. The number of men recorded as DOW on the medal rolls but as Died on the regimental register (and incidentally the CWGC data) runs into many dozen. In my experience 'died' seems to be shorthand. I used to think it could only mean a non-battle casualty but this recent experience has changed my view. Regards MG

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Sorry Martin, I should have explained better and said he was post 1915 entry. I wasn't sure whether you had the whole ledger or just the pages relevant to 1914.

I can tell you Chris, he is in the ledger but not any of the extra information that was recorded for him.

This link will take you to a transcription of all the names in alphabetical order with regimental number, but none of the extra information.

http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/idoc.ashx?docid=afc7a120-2ccb-45e1-8b21-cfd5c1924cef&version=-1

If I am in West Sussex Records Office before Martin, I will have a look.

I am going to Chichester Cathedral this week to take some photos for someone else on the forum, of a name in The Royal Sussex Regimental Chapel, will do the same for you.

Mandy

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Point taken Martin and one that should be engrained by now.

Another scenario I should also have considered is shelling of the rear areas, etc.

I only have the Battalion diary to work from, but it appears that the Battalion saw no front line, or operational duties between the 1st and 13th October. The casualty return shows a total of 6 ORs killed in action and 10 missing for the whole month. No officers in either category. Wounded figures are 4 Officers and 214 ORs.

CWGC shows a total of 27 ORs for the month of October, but this does include three who died in hospitals at Rouen and Etretat.

Phil

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Jim, Martin, Phil and Mandy,

What a lovely team you are.

Thank you for all the advice and help you have offered. I look forward to hearing from Mandy/Phil once the records office is open. In the end, if I cannot get a definite date of death, my article for the project will include both. I will, with your permission, use your replies to suggest both possibilities.

Kind regards,

Chris.

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I believe that you can obtain a death certificate, which would give both date and cause of death, for soldiers who died in France.

Regards,

JMB

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F J Bailey's name from the Royal Sussex Regimental Chapel in Chichester Cathedral.

P1090893_zps5885f36c.jpg

P1090894_zpsfceeb7e4.jpg

P1090906_zpse513abe6.jpg

Mandy

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Mandy,

Thank you for the excellent photographs. If it's OK with you I will use them in my article and pass copies to Francis' living relatives the next time I'm in Northamptonshire.

I wonder if this bit of information from the Cranford Parish Magazine may help you or Martin (whoever gets to the records office first) with the correct date of death.

The Cranford Parish Magazine in October 1918 reports that Francis had been slightly wounded but had a lucky escape. The same magazine in November reports the sad news that Francis had been killed. He had only just returned to his unit after a short spell in hospital with a slight wound.

The Bn was definitely in action on 18 Sep around Vadencourt and again on 22 Sep around Fresndy and Gricourt. They held the line until 28/29 Sep when they were relieved and became the Reserve Brigade. The War Diary reports them in the Verman/Pontruet area until Oct 17 when they march to an assembly point just outside Becquigney ready for their next attack.

Kind regards,

Chris.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Chris

I have been to West Sussex Records Office this morning.

In the ledger ref RSR 2/65, Francis Bailey's date of death is recorded as 13 October 1918, also noted against his name is, he was killed in a railway accident.

I also looked at the other 2nd Battalion men in the same cemetery who died on the same day Martin, Guymer, Cattermole and Clark, they also have killed in railway accident recorded next to their names.

They all rejoined/joined the Battalion around the same time. Martin joined the Battalion on 11 October 1918; Guymer was wounded on 21 September 1918 and rejoined 12 October 1918; Cattermole, I think it says he was posted from the 17th Batt on 11 October 1918, Clark went to Hospital 1st September 1918 and rejoined 12 October 1918. Francis Bailey was wounded on 18 September 1918 and rejoined the Battalion on 12 October 1918.

A couple of other bits of information recorded for Francis Bailey he embarked 25 November 1916 and joined the battalion on 10 December 1916.

Mandy

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Hi Mandy

That is excellent research, thank you for posting, be great to find more out about that railway accident if possible.

Hope all well with you (and sorry I missed you at Lewes on Friday)

Thanks again

Jim

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Hi Mandy,

Thank you so very much for finding this information for me, it's very kind of you it will be of great help. The project for the 6 men named on the memorial in the church can be finished now.

Although I live around 175 miles away from Cranford I've been asked to research all the men that were connected with Cranford St Andrew and St John during the Great War. So far I have a list of 81 men and although it would appear that a lot joined the Northamptonshire Regiment it is possible that I may be seeking your help in the future.

Best wishes,

Chris.

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Hi Mandy

That is excellent research, thank you for posting, be great to find more out about that railway accident if possible.

Hope all well with you (and sorry I missed you at Lewes on Friday)

Thanks again

Jim

It would be interesting to know if any of their deaths appear in local papers, with possibly more information on what happened.

I hope you weren't at the meeting and I failed to recognise you.

Hi Chris

Good luck with the research. I am always happy to pop into West Sussex Records Office to look at Royal Sussex stuff.

Mandy

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